Listening to a group of writers and other creative artists come together to talk about getting to the next level in their work, I was struck again by the importance of finding kindred spirits we can connect with around our work and bringing our work out into the world. Much of what we do is within our sphere of control: the effort we put out and the attitude and discipline we bring to our work. But there’s also a lot that we have little or no control over: how agents respond to our pitches and our prose, for example, or whether a genre is thriving or nosediving.
One way to stay on track and function at your best despite external circumstances is to build a support systems for success. Support systems for failure are easy to come by — they’re everywhere! On the other hand, building a support system for success takes intention — and a sharply focused investment of time and energy. And yet, it can be one of the single most powerful resources you have at your command.
A support system isn’t simply about cheer leading, it’s about coaching and courage. It’s about finding people who will mentor you and help nurture your aspirations by believing in you and challenging you to do your best and be your best. It’s about building a practical and psychic safety net for yourself that you can rely on when times are tough.
Having a team you can turn to for practical advice and bolstering can make all the difference in those moments when you feel like throwing in the towel or when gloomy news seeps into your psyche and threatens to paralyze you or frighten you into playing small. A support system can be as basic as a few trusted professionals who agree to be sounding boards for ideas and share what they’ve learned with you — or it can be the members of your writing group who really know and value your work. Whatever path you take, having a team you can count on can make all the difference. Write on!